Schools in northwestern Syria's Afrin have reopened after the district was recently liberated from terrorists in Turkey-backed Operation Olive Branch.
The PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) shut schools in the district center, even though no armed clashes were reported during the counterterrorism operation. Afrin was liberated in March. A large number of people have returned home since and life is slowly returning to normal. Through Turkey's support in the region education activities have also jumpstarted.
Al-Ittihad School, with some 450-500 students, is providing accelerated courses for secondary and high school levels since last week, to make up for the lost time.
Abdo Nebhen, in charge of Afrin's district education office and deputy speaker of the local parliament, told Anadolu Agency that they are providing accelerated education to around 500 students. Nebhen said Syrian teachers were volunteering in the classes. "We cannot say education completed stopped in Afrin, but, the PYD was using schools for political goals. It made Kurdish compulsory. It abolished religious lessons and instead taught ideologies that the group advocates," he said. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing YPG are Syrian branches of the PKK terrorist network, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years. Nebhen thanked Turkey for lending support to education in Afrin.
One of the pupils, Sare Ahmed, 15, said she was happy to return to school. She requested the continuation of support from officials. "We want to secure our future. They should support us," she said.
On March 18, Turkish-backed troops liberated the town center of Afrin, which had been a major hideout for the YPG/PKK terror group since 2012. This January, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, northern Syria to clear terrorist groups from the area. After liberating the city of Afrin, Ankara said it might also extend its operation further east to Manbij, unless the YPG/PKK terrorist group left the strategically important city.